Jennifer Weiner has a thing on her website *for writers*. She has recommended that if you want to be a writer, you need to follow these steps.
1. The Unhappy Childhood
2. The Miserable Love Life
3. Major in Liberal Arts
4. Get a job
5. Write to Please Yourself
6. Get a Dog
7. Get Published
8. Find an Agent
9. Be a smart Consumer
Well, Jennifer Weiner (who I have had several twitter based conversations now, since I am that cool) I found this list sooo interesting.
I am going to address your points here.
1. While I did not have an unhappy childhood per se, (hold your horses mom, this is not an attack) it wasn’t always the greatest one. My parents were convinced I had allergies to bread (two years of rice cake sandwiches for lunch…with margarine on them-eeewww), a crowded house with six other siblings to share space and bathroom time and me, devoted to getting into trouble. It wasn’t unhappy, but it wasn’t always good. But then, show me anyone who can say theirs was.
2. The Miserable Love Life. This one is interesting. I created for myself (again with the self destruction) a few not so healthy relationships as a teenager but thankfully got that straightened out when I married my Shawn at just 19 years old. We’ve been married now for over 17 years and although I have occasionally found ways to make married life much more difficult than it needs be, he has thankfully stuck by me.
3. Major in Liberal Arts. I kind of skipped this step. Sort of. Because I had my oldest at 18 and married a year later, I didn’t do the college/university thing. However that being said, I grew up in a family that thrived on the arts. It practically breathed them. Of the seven of us kids, ALL of us are artists in one form or another. There are a few writers, some painters, some dancers. We are all immersed in the arts much to the chagrin I am sure of my maths and sciences mother. Nah, she loves it, but I’m betting she wishes at least one of us had gone on to do something that was a little easier to make a living at and less likely to make us eccentric and perpetually broke. :-)
4. Get a Job. Yep. Especially for the first, well, many years (unless you write poorly written new age erotica that despite very bad composition manages to sell millions…50 Shades) you will need to have a job that pays the bills. Because writing, for many of us, doesn’t. Bonus points if you have a job that allows you to write. I have had several jobs over the years but the one I’m in now lets me work with people on cover letters and resumes. In other words, honing down documents to say the most about someone in the least amount of space. It keeps me fresh, keeps me interacting with the most fascinating people, and keeps my keyboarding skills sharp.
5. Write to Please Yourself. Done and done. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I wasn’t one hundred percent happy with doing it. I write stories that I feel are in me to tell. I can’t imagine a life where I didn’t write.
6. Get a dog. I love that she included this, and it’s not the same as owning a cat, people. Dogs demand attention and commitment. So does writing. Plus, on a bad writing day, dogs don’t care and they will still want to snuff their damp noses in your face. I have three dogs. I’m really serious about this stuff.
7. Get published. Yeah, I know you’re probably thinking the same thing I did when I read this. If only it were that simple….but then I thought about it. I’ve been published loads of times. I wrote for over four years for The Cambridge Times, I won a writing contest for The Toronto Sun a few years back and wrote for them freelance for a year. My books are ‘out there’, three of them now. I’m published. Checkmark.
8. Find an Agent. Thankfully, she has great advice on how to go about this because so far, I’m not having much luck. But I’m not giving up either.
9. Be a Smart Consumer. Essentially, she’s saying don’t be taken in by publishing scams. Or by offers from agents or publishers who demand money up front or won’t let you see or know their client roster. Run, run away from those guys.
10. Read. Well, as my mom could attest and indeed now my husband, I am a world class reader. I can devour a novel in a matter of hours and even years later still retain crazy details about the book. I will sometimes stay up until two or three in the morning to finish a good book that I can’t put down. If I love an author, I will hunt down everything they’ve ever written for my collection. I can’t help it.
The full, Jennifer Weiner article is here on her website. And, as per her advice, I now have a copy of Stephen King’s “On Writing” which I already started to dig into just before work today.
Stay tuned for my first book review to be coming up soon. And if you’re an author who would like a book review of your book, drop me a message on here and we’ll work it out. Tit for tat, since I have been bugging some of my favourite bloggers to review my work as well. Time for me to give back a bit.
Happy reading, happier writing.